Opening Day at Oaklawn_Jockey_Club. Oh, the fanfare! Or shall we call it OJC & Casino? Seems as if that's not too far off the mark. Legalized gambling of different sorts began months ago, but today will be the first day that it will coincide, on premisis, with live horse racing. Word is out that the Cella family, owners of the jockey club, have purchased several acres of mid-town property, with sights of expanding the enterprise. One piece of that property sits just across the street from my office. It's about 15 acres +/-, and even though the original 1960's era K-Mart that anchored the shopping center is long gone, it is still a thriving piece of real estate with amenities from a pharmacy and a 10 screen cinema, to a chinese restaurant and a huge antique mall. At the moment, it's difficult to envision a gambling multi-plex with a high rise hotel there, but I'm sure it's bound to happen. Eventually.
But for today, I DO envision a town of 60,000 bursting at it's seams and morphing back into the vacation capital of the state for the remainder of the year and for which it is so fondly attributed. Today marks the day in Hot Springs, that we call the 5th Season. Winter is officially over here. This is Racing Season! It is also when I find my 5th Season Alternate Routes Through
Town. Only an out-of-towner would be foolish enough to drive Central Avenue or anywhere around the track during these days.